Thankfully, while some character’s plots seem undefined, the sense of adventure in between these moments lets the audience escape the narrative, if just for a moment. Solo is definitely an adventure movie. Han’s homeworld of Corellia is a desolate place. Bear in mind that Corellia is a core world in the galaxy. One would think that being near to the capital of the Empire would afford a planet some prestige, but the dismay of Corellia and its people reaffirms that Emperor Palpatine’s cruelty is a galaxy sized umbrella. Vandor is the snow-covered planet that has the best heist sequence in the film, where an anti-grav train holds compartments of colaxium, the hyperfuel that powers the Empire’s fleet. The Spice Mines of Kessel have often been regarded as a death sentence in the Star Wars canon, and seeing it on screen in an official capacity makes us understand why. Another strength for Solo is John Powell’s score, particularly in this sequence of the film. “Marauders Arrive” is driven by fierce chanting, signaling the appearance of Enfys Nest. If Star Wars ever had its own version of “Ride of the Valkyries”, this would be it. Enfys Nest is yet another character I wish we could have had more of. The character is mostly kept in reserve, similar to Boba Fett, though I was pleasantly surprised to see where they took this character who happens to have the best theme song in a long while.
Speaking of which, although John Powell provided and adapted most of Solo’s score, John Williams had the honor of finally composing an official theme for Han Solo. The theme flawlessly captures that swashbuckler feel emanated by Han. Additionally, it sets the tone for both the film and character, while simultaneously getting us hyped to go on another adventure across the stars.
The long discussed Kessel Run was a mesmerizing sequence to see played out, and further buoys why Han is a flying prodigy. Before this movie came out, I had always wondered if Han ever exaggerated the truth about making the run in less than 12 parsecs. What I saw play out is exactly what I thought Han would do, and that brought a smile to my face.
Yet another thing Solo does right is its use of practical effects. Rio may obviously be CGI, but early on in the film when Lady Proxima first appears, and we see this snake-like Grindalid squirm out of a pool of water, you can see the creature department knocked this one out of the park.
While Solo doesn’t bridge the saga together on a large scale, I believe it doesn’t have to. By the film’s end, Solo didn’t have to tie into a novel, TV show, or comic book. Instead, the film stands on its own legs for a fun romp and proceeds to do something totally out of left field near its climax. Almost like a film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Solo made me yearn to see what happens next, not only for the next anthology film, but also what’s in store for this film’s characters.
Many would argue that franchise fatigue is something to be wary of. Honestly, the most successful string of movies from Disney lately is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet, if Lucasfilm aspires to handle their anthology films the way they did with Solo, and Rogue One before it, then I’m ready. Really, have you gotten tired of the MCU after 18 movies in? I’m not. One of Solo’s greatest strengths is that it is just pure fun. It’s an adventure beyond the stars. Like Han and Chewbacca, I’m in for the ride and the continued expansion of the Star Wars canon. Punch it.